Sending money online is easy with PayPal payment but it can be too easy sometimes. If you enter the wrong email address and click submit before you notice, the funds will be immediately removed from your PayPal account. The good news is that if you catch it in time, you can sometimes cancel a PayPal payment and get your money back.

What are your options? If you need to cancel a PayPal payment, keep reading to learn how.

Can you cancel a PayPal payment?

There are very specific circumstances under which you can cancel a PayPal payment. Unfortunately, the conditions required to cancel a PayPal payment are quite specific.

You can cancel a PayPal payment when:

The recipient email does not have a registered PayPal account. Immediately after registration, the transfer is complete.

The recipient’s email is not verified. As soon as it is confirmed, the transfer is complete.

Fortunately, this covers one important reason you’d want to cancel a PayPal payment: entering the wrong email address. If the email address doesn’t exist, the funds will be in limbo, and even if you don’t cancel, the payment will be automatically returned to your account after 30 days. If the email address still exists, you need to destroy it quickly before it is claimed.

Certain payments need to be accepted, in which case you can cancel them if they are unconfirmed. Once the transfer shows up as “Completed” and the money is already in someone else’s account, you can no longer cancel the PayPal transaction (but you still have some options for a refund).

How to cancel a pending PayPal payment

It’s easy to remember how to cancel a PayPal payment once you’ve done it, but it can be confusing the first time around if you don’t know where to look.

The first thing you need to do is log into your PayPal account and click the Activity tab. Then click All transactions. This page lists your past transactions, and you can find the payment you want to cancel somewhere in the list.

Now is the moment of truth: if the payment has not been completed, there will be a small Cancel link. Click it, then click Cancel Payment on the next page to have your money returned to your account. If there is no cancel option, it means the transaction is done and you will have to try another way.

For quick reference, we’ve listed the steps briefly below.

How to cancel a PayPal payment:

Sign in to your PayPal account.

Click on Activity at the top of the page.

Select All Transactions.

Find the payment and click Cancel.

On the next page, click Cancel Payment.

While you will get your money back, it may not be the same. PayPal automatically withdraws money from your bank account when your PayPal balance is insufficient, and instead of returning the money to your bank, the money will appear in your PayPal balance. From there, you can easily transfer that money back to your bank account, although it may take a few days.

How to cancel recurring payments on PayPal

PayPal makes recurring payments, such as subscriptions, simple. However, when your subscription ends, you may need to cancel the PayPal transaction in addition to unsubscribing with the business itself.

There are two ways to do this and the first one is very similar to the method listed above. The only difference is that you need to filter Subscription Payments on the Activity page. The other way to cancel recurring payments on PayPal is completely different. You still need to log in to the site, but that’s the only step the two have in common.

Once logged in, click the username button in the upper right part of the screen. Then click Account Settings, click Money, Banking & Cards, and finally, go to Set automatic payments.

From there, click the business name for which you have recurring payments, then click Cancel. As a review, we’ve listed step-by-step instructions below.

Using PayPal, you can cancel recurring payments (subscriptions)

Sign in to your PayPal account.

Click the username button at the top right.

Select Account Settings.

Gambling, banking, and cards.

Set automatic payments by scrolling to the bottom.

Select the recurring payment or subscription you want to cancel.

Select Cancel.

Note that you must cancel your recurring payment at least 24 hours before it happens. You can still unsubscribe, but subsequent payments can still be made.

What options do I have if I cannot cancel my PayPal payment?

If you don’t receive your payment on time, or the recipient already has a PayPal account, you still have several options for getting your money back. In this situation, you should know the recipient and trust them. Simply ask them for a refund. They can be easily done from the Activity page and don’t cost any money.

PayPal is also accepted at many online retailers, but these transfers are harder to get back. Your first option here is to request a refund from the retailer, which you can usually do on the website or through a customer service email. You’ll likely need to send back anything you’ve purchased, and this can take a week or more.

A retailer may refuse your refund request, but your options don’t stop there. You can report an issue in the PayPal Resolution Center, where a customer service representative will review your case. This does not guarantee that you will get your money back, but PayPal is generally very good at delivering customer requests in a reasonable manner.

If you’re unsure about using PayPal, we’ve also created a guide on how to delete your PayPal account. You may want to use other services, such as Venmo, which is a great PayPal alternative.

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